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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: president obama pushed today for an overhaul of immigration laws, and endorsed the bipartisan plan announced by a group of senators yesterday. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, we get two views of the immigration debate and the potential political hurdles ahead. >> woodruff: then, kwame holman reports on the budget crisis facing former senator chuck hagel if he's confirmed as the next secretary of defense. >> when he takes office, the first challenge he has is he'll be in the middle of the sequester fight meaning an automatic across-the-board cut for the defense budget and every other federal budget that is
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supposed to happen march 1. >> ifill: and we look at the big money groups supporting and attacking hagel's nomination. >> woodruff: we have two takes onhe war in mali, an on-the- ground report from the newly liberated town of gao... >> ifill: ...and an update on the destruction of ancient manuscripts in the fabled city of timbuktu. >> woodruff: and we close with the story of a soldier who underwent a successful rare double arm transplant, after losing all of his limbs in the iraq war. >> i hated not having arms. i was all right with not having legs. not having arms takes so much away from you out of even your personality. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> viking river cruises. >> bnsf railway. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: one week into his second term, president obama officially took on the issue of immigration today.
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he said it comes down to a simple question: whether the country and the government have the resolve, finally, to deal with the long-festering national challenge. the president launched his effort in nevada where more than a quarter of the state's residents are hispanic. >> i'm here today because the time has come for common sense, comprehends i have been immigration reform. ( cheers and applause ) the time is now. >> woodruff: the campaign-style event at a las vegas high school came a day after a bipartisan group of eight u.s. senators put forward their own plan. it calls for creating a path to legal citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people now estimated to be living in the u.s implementing that policy would be contingent on securing the southern border. seven years ago then senator obama the joined a similar effort >> if the compromise that's been
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discussed and has the agreement of those who were in this room, if that ends up being the bill that is signed into law, it's a win-win for everybody >> woodruff: today president obama praised the new senate effort. he said the path to citizenship must be clear from the start and not just be tied to border security. >> we have to lay out a path, a process that includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning english, and then going to the back of the line behind all the folks who are trying to come here legally. that's only fair. right? so that means it won't be a quick process but it will be a fair process. >> woodruff: back in washington florida republican marco rubio, a member of the bipartisan senate group, still seemed concerned the president wanted to move too far too fast >> if this endeavor becomes a bidding war to see who can come
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up with the easiest, quickest and cheapest pathway to green card possible, this thing is not going to go well, folks >> woodruff: senate republican leader mitch mcconnell said he's withholding judgment for now >> i think predicting how one is going to vote on this package before it gets out of committee is something i'm not prepared to do. but i will say... what i will say is there is obviously bipartisan desire to move forward on immigration legislation. my assumption is the majority leader will be doing that. >> woodruff: that would be nevada democrat harry reid who said lawmakers must act soon. >> i'm very, very hopeful. with the president in las vegas today, he has put his arms around the four senators on the democratic side and the republican side but with a caveat. he won't wait around forever to actually have legislation that we move on >> woodruff: on the newshour last night two members of the
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bipartisan group talked up their plan's prospect. democrat dick durbin of illinois >> i don't want to say confident because i'm a senator. you know, i spend my whole lif disappointed. i've been 12 years on the dream act but i've never felt better about it and more positive >> woodruff: and arizona republican jeff flake who said the election results got lawmakers' attention, even those who doubt immigration reform. >> there is motivation to get it behind us for those who don't want to deal with it as well. so i think we have the planets aligned here now to move ahead >> woodruff: the biggest hurdle could come in the republican-controlled house where another bipartisan group is working on a competing plan. the first house committee hearing takes place next tuesday. >> ifill: we take a closer look now at how the politics of the immigration debate are unfolding with clarissa martiínez de castro, director of civic engagement and immigration for the national council of la raza. and kris kobach, the kansas
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secretary of state who helped write arizona's strict immigration law. welcome to you both. clarissa martinez de castro, as you listened to the president say we've come so far so fast as you listen to marco rubio say maybe too fast, does it feel like you have turned a corner in this fight? >> definitely have turned the corner. the reality is that it may seem fast but let's not forget that this issue of immigration has been debated in congress numerous times. one of the reasons why we are moving forward with it is because indeed so much ground has been laid before in previous debates. i think what we have right now is the political imperative, the moral imperative, and the economic imperative aligning to create the pressure and the space that congress needs to take action >> ifill: what about those imperatives? are they coming together in a way that you would like to see them? >> i don't think they're coming together in the way that so many people are hyping this
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supposedly momentum think they're coming together. there's one really big factor that everybody is missing here. and that is the biggest stumbling block to an amnesty for 11 million or more illegal aliens, and that is the price tag. the last time an amnesty of similar size was contemplated in the congress was 2007. it was calculated that it would cost the country $2.6 trillion over ten yearsecause u make all of these predominantly low-skilled illegal aliens eligible for food stamps, w.i.c.c., medicare,edicaid, social security, all welfare programs. because their contributions into the system are so much lower than a higher-skilled, higher-wage employee they will be net drags on our fiscal problem so we'll be $2.6 trillion farther in the hole. we have to remember the number one thing in front of congress right now is fixing our fiscal mess. this is just going to make our debt pblem so much worse so i think once the numbers start coming out on the proposal and
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once it's actually laid out in terms of bill language you're going to see a lot of members of both parties stepping back and saying, oh, i didn't realize it would cause that problem. so i would... >> ifill: you made your point. clarissa martinez de castro, could you respond >> this is a very interesting thing. the 2006 immigration bill had a congressional budget score of a net gain of $12 billion. and the 2007 bill had a congressial budget oice score of $24 billion. and so i think most economic studies out there have confirmed that there is expected to see a net gain to our economy from a legalization program, but the most important thing... >> the c.b.o. score... ifill: just allow her to finish. i'll be right back with you >> but the most important thing to also take into account is that over the past four years, 1.6 million immigrants have been deported. just last year at a cost of $18
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illion. i think what we need really an immigration system for the 21st century. i know mr. kobach wants to keep promoting anti-immigrant laws. and in many ways is opposed to illegal immigration but we need a system that works >> i think that last characterization was completely inaccurate. i and many other americans who favor the rule of law are very much in favor of legal immigration. we are a country based on the rule of law but illegal immigration does no good for our economy. in terms of those costs the c.b.o. numbers don't take into count thse...he medicaid medicare and all the other welfare program costs in the out years. it is a huge huge drag on our fiscal situation if we basically give access to all of these programs to this large number of people. we have to remember what happened last time we had an amnesty in 1986. immediately we saw 398,000 cases of fraud. those are the ones the i.n.s. caught where people came into
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the country and claimed they were eligible when they really weren't or in the case of one of the ring leaders of the 199 attacks on the world trade center he claimed he was eligible. heas already in the country. he was in new york city driving a cab. he claimed he was an agricultural worker. there's going to be all kinds of fraud >> ifill: i want to ask you about the border security part. both sides seem to agree both the white house and the senate group and the people who are working on this in the house that nothing can happen unless there's some sort of agreement on border security on enforcement triggers. do we see anything emerging that would speak to that or that we could really measure it? >> i think the president has a pretty strong track record on that arena >> ifill: pretty strong track record? >> the facts are the facts. he has in fact committed more resources to the border, more boots on the ground. he has the numbers to prove it. he's deported more people than any any previous administration. the reality is that a lot of those things have been
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exhausted. the next step is to have legislation to fix some of other pieces, like a verification process that work not just for employers about you also for workers, right? we want to make sure that people who are eligible to work don't get prevented from having a job because of errors in the program. where we are right now is that we have tinkered around the edges of this problem so long we've exhausted that. now we need to take the bull by the horns and really fix, you know, fix the rule of law. a legalization program is a critical part of that. but also preserve the rule of law by having a working legal immigration system. >> ifill: chris kobach, what about that? is there a working legal immigration system in place and do any of the plans you hear being discussed ensure that in >> well, i mean our legal immigration system is working. it'she mt generous one on the planet. we regularly bring in more than a million green cards holders every year. we process hundreds of thousands of nonimmigrant visas which are
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temporary visas every year. this claim that the system is broke and somehow we have to start all over from scratch is wrong. as far as her claim that the obama administration has a record to run on enforcing the law. they've brought work site enforcement to a halt. the deportation numbers it was revealed last year that actually they have been cooking the books and counting turn-arounds at the border as deportations since 2010. those were never counted before. once you take those out we see deportation numbers are way down right now. as far as the proposal that the senators came up there there's not much there on the enforcement side of the equation. it's a very lopsided proposal. that is is probably going to give republicans pause especially in the house >> the reality is that i think like the majority of the american public i'm not interested in a food fight. i'm interested in putting a solution on the table. i think that the fact that we have an undocumented population of this size speaks to te fa that the system is not working. >> ifill: chris kobach the final
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word briefly >> it speaks to the fact that we haven't tried a strategy of strictly enforcing our laws and encouraging people to comply with the law which means go home. >> ifill: thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: there's more on the immigration debate online. newshour political editor christina bellantoni talked to two activists from past reform efforts. and still to come tonight, the challenges ahead for a new defense secretary; war ravages mali, and destroys part of its cultural heritage; plus, a rare double arm transplant. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: a federal judge in new orleans gave the go-ahead today to a settlement with b.p. in the 2010 gulf oil disaster. the company agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and to pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties. the gulf disaster began with an oil rig explosion that killed 11 people. before the well was finally sealed, it spewed more than 200
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million gallons of oil into the sea. senator john kerry of massachusetts was confirmed today to be secretary of state. the vote was 94-3, as the five- term democrat won the overwhelming approval of his colleagues. kerry is 69, and a former democratic presidential nominee. senators from both sides praised him in a rare show of bipartisan support. john has already built strong relationships with leaders across the world. which will allow him to step seamlessly into e role of secretary of state. >> i don't know of anybody who has led the life that has been more oriented towards ultimately being secretary of state than john kerry. >> sreenivasan: kerry has been an unofficial envoy for the obama administration in recent years. he will succeed hillary clinton, who is stepping down after serving as secretary of state since 2009. in egypt, the army chief warned the country's political crisis could lead to the "collapse" of the state. general abdel-fattah el-sisi
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issued the warning as protests and violence extended into a sixth day. in port said, thousands of people marched in funerals for some of the 60 people killed since last week. and in cairo, groups of protters fought again with riot police. the protests are aimed at president mohamed morsi and his islamist-dominated government. evidence of a new massacre surfaced in syria today. at least 65 bodies were found in aleppo. the victims had been bound and shot in the head, but it was unclear who was responsible. meanwhile, the plight of thousands of refugees continued to worsen. some have even sought shelter in ancient ruins at serjilla, in northwestern syria. john irvine of independent television news reports. >> three weeks old. reporter: and what a world she's been born into. for her hom is a hole in the ground. it was dug by the romans who used it to stable life stock. these are the ruins of a byzantine city that's been reoccupied by hundreds of people, desperate syrians forced
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by a modern war machine to retreat into an ancient life where they must wait for goliath to be toppled. this sub terrainian stable is now home to 60 members of an extended family. the mate remark told me thr proper home was obliterated by a syrian army bomb. in what was the pa trishian part of the ancient city, a child sleeps in a tomb. the crypt of a rich roman now houses syria's poor and persecuted. they even use the water that still flows into the roman baths here. the only function this site should have is to show case syria's rich history. instead and perversely it show cases the desperate state of syria today. met forically and in this instance literally many lives are in ruins. these people swapped danger for
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misery months ago, and they have no idea when they will be able to leave here. tonight hundreds of frightened syrians, many of them children, will be trying to sleep in freezing burrows dug for animals 2,000 years ago. >> sreenivasan: for the second time in as many weeks, the smog over eastern china was off the charts today. in beijing, thick gray-brown haze cloaked streets, reducing visibility so much that it forced airlines to cancel flights. those who ventured outside had to don face masks to protect themselves. the chinese government responded by ordering more than 100 factories to suspend production. it also told workers to cut car travel by a third. in u.s. economic news, home prices moved higher in november, at the strongest pace in six years. the standard and poors case- schilr index said new york was the only major city to report a decline. and on wall street, the dow jones industrial average gained
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72 points to close at 13,954. the nasdaq fell a fraction of a point to close at 3153. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: we take a two-part look at president obama's choice to be the next secretary of defense. confirmation hearings for former nebraska senator chuck hagel are set for thursday. among other things, he is likely to face questions about the pentagon's looming budget crisis. automatic spending cuts set to take effect march 1 mean the defense department will have to find $52 billion in savings this year and half a trillion dollars over the next decade. newshour correspondent kwame holman reports. >> holman: outgoing defense secretary leon panetta recently sounded the alarm at the prospect of looming budget cuts. >> the most immediate threat to our ability to achieve our mission is fiscal uncertainty. >> holman: that damage could be felt soon.
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thousands of the pentagon's civilian employees will face furloughs and reduced paychecks as early as apri according to deputy secretary of defense ashton carter. >> so if the new secretary is confirmed by march 1, the first fight, before he even finds the men's room at the pentagon, is going to be, how do i negotiate with the congress on behalf of my interests in the bigger context of the budget? >> holman: gordon adams was the top white house budget official for national security during the clinton administration, and now teaches at american university. >> when he takes office, the first challenge he has is, he'll be in the middle of a sequester fight, because we are supposed to have a budget sequester-- meaning automatic across-the- board cuts for the defense budget and every other federal budget-- that is supposed to happen march 1. >> holman: the pentagon's top brass also is worried about any delay in resolving the budget fight. the joint chiefs recently told congress they may have to ground aircraft, return ships to port, and stop driving combat vehicles in training. historically, military spending rises during wartime and declines by about 30% once the war is over.
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so spending that went up nearly 70% in constant dollars since 2001 is on the way down, as the u.s. leaves afghanistan and the iraq war has ended. that means even if congress and the president reach a budget deal and avoid automatic spending cuts, the pentagon's budget still is going to be reduced significantly, says adams. >> we are going down in the size of the defense budget. and the first and foremost challenge the new secretary has is, how do i manage that drawdown? what do i do to make the forces smaller; to get control over management of the department of defense; to make sure hardware programs are coming in on time, in budget, with the capabilities that we want? how do i get my arms around the pay and benefits compensation fo the force that are very expsive? and how do i do all of that with less money? >> holman: former senator chuck hagel begins confirmation hearings on thursday. he's made statements indicating he's open to cutting military spending.
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in an interview with the "financial times" in 2011, hagel said the wars in iraq and afghanistan necessarily shifted u.s. spending priorities toward the military, but that times change. >> the defense department, i think, in many ways has been bloated. let's look at the reality here. the defense department has gotten everything it's wanted the last ten years and more. no american wants to in any way hurt our capabilities to national defense, but that doesn't mean an unlimited amount of money and a blank check for anything they want at any time, for any purpose. not at all. >> people have been looking for the bloat account in the pentagon as long as i've been doing it. >> holman: during the 1990s, thomas donnelly worked on defense issues for republican members of congress. he's now director of security studies at the american enterprise institute.
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>> there are very few airplane programs. there are very few shipbuilding programs. the personnel strength of all the services is already much lower than it's been, certainly compared to the cold war. so you are getting past the point where there is a lot of fat to cut. there is not much that won't be painful. >> holman: over the past decade, the size of the ground forces increased by 120,000 between 2000 and 2010. the army and marines now are aiming to cut 100,000 service personnel by 2017. gordon adams predicts another 100,000 to 200,000 people will be moved out of the armed forces in the coming years. >> when you are out of major combat operations, the ground force is what you need less of, so it's the automatic target to shrink. it's harder to shrink the navy and air force. you have a certain amount of equment you have to fly and sail and a certain amount of
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staffing you have to have in order to do it. >> holman: but thomas donnelly thinks further service personnel cuts would be unwise. >> my view is that the force is too small. it's been too small for a long time. we could not fight iraq and afghanistan properly at the same time. we've always had a so-called "two-war construct" so we could do two things at once. and that's kind of the definition of what it's been to be a global power. >> holman: another way to make budget reductions could come from reforming what's called tricare, the health care insurance system for soldiers, their families, and retired veterans, according to adams. >> the health care system is as out of control as health care costs in the country as a whole, and expensively administered. it's now a $50 billion a year system going up to $60 billion a year very quickly. it's about 10% of the defense budget just in the health care system.
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>> holma those coveredy tricare pay an average ofbout $500 a year in out-of-pocket fees, compared to about $7,000 a year for civilians with private health insurance. defense secretaries panetta and robert gates both tried to reform the health care system by raising annual fees for some retirees, but congress rejected their proposals. >> health care is eating us alive. >> holman: military health care is not covered by reforms included in the so-called obamacare plan. >> it is e third rail politically, because if you try to get it under control, the reserve officers association and the retirees association come up on the net, and it's a politically impossible situation. >> people in uniform can fairly say, hey, we are the few that are sacrificing to defend the country, putting our lives at risk, and you are going to take away my entitlements so you baby
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boomers can have a comfy retirement? >> holman: donnelly says it's simply a nonstarter to ask veterans to make financial sacrifis if ordinary americans are not doing the same. >> it's really hard to see a solution to this problem that isn't part of a larger reassessment of overall government entitlements. i think politically it would be suicidal to try to take away from people in uniform, but you are not willing to take away from the rest of us. >> holman: while thomas donnelly and gordon adams disagree about how the new secretary of defense should go about implementing cuts at the defense department, they agree that cuts are in inevitable. >> as come ouof ira as we come out afgnist, the american public cares less about defense. the congress cares less about defense, and other issues have taken precedent. that puts defense under extreme pressure on the downward side. >> the defense budget is very much falling victim to the
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larger fiscal woes that the government faces. >> holman: as former nebraska republican senator chuck hagel prepares to face the senate armed services committee on thursday, the difficulty of the fiscal issues confronting the next defense secretary already are clear. >> woodruff: hagel told pentagon officials last weethat he'd divest himself of investments in defense-related stocks and resign from corporate boards to avoid any conflict of interest. meanwhile, his nomination has sparked a political style campaign of television and newspaper ads for and against him. for that part of the story, we go to jim rutenberg, national political reporter at the "new york times." jim, welcome. first of all, how big a campaign are we talking about? and how unusual is it for this to take ace? >> well, in tms of... compared to the presidential campaign, this is not like hundreds of millions of dollars. this at the most will be single-digit millions, at most.
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but these are television ads in five or six states, newspaper ads, web ads, phone calls, mailers, and there are at least six groups on the conservative side and then two kind loosely formed supporting greums of republicans and democrats on the other side >> woodruff: and on the against side, what is motivating them? >> well, the motivation is, as i'm sure guys... i know you guys have covered exhaust tively is former senator hagel's views on israel, some of his comments about the so-called jewish lobby and one group raises some of his comments about gays and some of his positions on gay rights. >> woodruff: and how much money? you said six groups. who is funding these different groups? >> well, there's the rub. that's what makes this so unusual. we don't see these kinds of anonymously funded groups which is whathesere, involved in
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cabinet fights but we have a lot of... we don't even... i can't say a lot. we have anonymous donors funneling money to some sort of pop-up groups and some of the more traditional groups. we'll never know who some of them are if they don't reveal themselves >> i saw in what you've been writing that some of them are the same folks who were giving to republicans, conservatives in the campaign in last year's election but there are also different groups involved >> yeah. i mean, we have, for instance, sheldon addalson who the casino executive out of las vegas who we think we can say this confidently the biggest individual donor in the history of american politics. he's making phone calls to the hill. we don't know what kind of money he has into this fight. he's making phone calls. when you know the money he spent, that has great influence, there's other donors who we don't again... we don't know exactly who they are but it seems to be that there are some of these new groups that are out of left field
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>> woodruff: jim, what about on the pro hagel side? what groups are there and how much are they spen something >> they are spending as has been the case in the last couple of cycles far less. i think we're looking... this is a really ballpark estimate. but maybe 100,000 or maybe a little bit more on some newspaper ads by a group of former national security officials of both parties. kind of the foreign policy realists of the reagan, bush and clinton campaigns who liked hagel, a republican himself, and they've done a couple newspaper ads and some web activity but it's bn kind of paled next to the conservative onslaught >> woodruff: and they are able to get away with not revealing who they are, why? >> well, citizens united, the supreme court case of a couple years ago, gave donors confidence that they could get involved in these groups. there would be no legal trouble. now these groups could have
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existed but it gave confidence so it started a growing trend of anonymously funded groups coming along for whatever the battle of the day is. citizens unid inhe mix. we also at the same time have these operatives who run these groups, have become very good at setting them up with nothing to do this year. so it's kind of a perfect storm >> woodruff: you also talked to them, jim, i saw in your reporting. for all the money that was spent against president obama last year, that was a campaign that wasn't successful. you talked to them about that and about why they think it's worth theirñr money this time. >> first of all in the case of sheldon addalson he told the wall street journal a few weeks ago easy ce easy go basically. i'm in the gambling busy and you lose sometimes. for him, this is chump change. he probably didn't even notice the $100 million or so that he reportedly spent out of his bank account. but others like foster frees who
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is a big investor out of the west he wants to keep spending. he believes what he believes. they do know that they lost and didn't get what they wanted for their money so they're going to think about tactics going forward when we get into the real campaign season. it doesn't make sense to spend on television ads if there are better uses for the money but ey are goi to spend their money. >> woodruff: jim, you've been looking at this nomination fight. what do the prospects look like? does it look like the ad campaign is having an effect? >> frankly right now it does not look like it's having an effect. and his prospects seem good. i've sat in similar seats before and said so-and-so is going to sail through and they don't. we have to go through a hearing. we really don't know what is going to happen but right now the odds-makers in washington whose track is spotty, let's face it. bu seriously they believe he will go right through in which case this money would seem wasted. the groups will tell you they're making an upon point about policy. they are putting hagel on notice that they expect him to kind of
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be at least somewhere in the range of their issues. that's all they need for their mon eevment they're going to get this >> woodruff: we will be watching those hearings once again underway. jim rutenberg of the "new york times," thank you >> thanks for having me. >> ifill: we return again to the west african nation of mali, as jubilation gives way to retribution in the newly liberated city gao. lindsey hilsum of independent television news has an on-the- ground report. be advised: some of the images may be disturbing. reporter: the soldiers got him before he was attacked. just as well. vij it antis had already beaten up this man before the military rescued him. in gao, those said to have cooperated with him, the muslim jihad in unity who ruled this city for nine months, are in acute danger now.
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>> they're from majoa. they're the islam i haves who have gone into their homes to hide smed we've been rounding them up to hand them over to the military. >> reporter: days of joy emerging into days of vengeance. on saturday as mallian soldiers entered the town, a jihady fired into the crowd. the pictures are too graphic to show. he was lynched. torn limb from limb. left mutilated and dead. today we saw one of the haddist'seapons clashes the people of gao are full of anger about the men who used their town as a base for their war against all things western. there's no one here to stop them taking revenge. we took a short tour of the destruction of gao. goats patrol the banks the jihadis looted and then blew up. no one is dancing at the nightclub they destroyed with rocket-propelled grenades or praying at the catholic church which they scaled to pull down
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the cross. rebuilding may be easier than repairing the damage done to people's lives and minds. in timbuktu today, people came out to see how the jihadis destroyed the past as well as the present, burning the famous 17th century islamic manuscript kept in the museum. >> they're the heart and soul of timbuktu's people. when they hurt them they hurt the people of tim bic due. everyone was crying >> reporter: africans are readying to keep the peace after the french have stabilized mali's northern city. stopping revenge attacks against those accused of collaborating with the jihadis may be one of their hardest tasks. >> woodruff: lindsay hilsum is reporting in >> woodruff: as lindsey hilsum just reported, in timbuktu an important culture heritage is also at stake. jeffrey brown picks up on that part of the story. >> brown: there remains a great deal of confusion about the extent of the damage in timbuktu.
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what is known is that the city, a united nations world heritage site, was home to more than 200,000 ancient manuscripts and other artifacts, spanning many centuries, stored in small private liaries and a large research center. special correspondent fred de sam lazaro visited timbuktu ten years ago for the pbs program "religion and ethics newsweekly." here's an excerpt from his report. >> reporter: it's an impof returned town of 30,000 most of them nomadic traders or subsistence farmers but tick buck due is rich in history, history that sub saharan has only oral and no written traditions. >> before there was an america, timbuktu was a thriving center of learning with a university. professors were teaching philosophy, theology and mathematics. >> reporter: professor al haj says the earliest records go back to the 11th century to a prosperous desert cross roads
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where salt, gold, slaves, and scholarship were exchanged. that all ended in the late 1500s with moroccan invasions and later french conquests. today much of timbuktu's architecture seems frozen or more appropriately baked in time. the 15th century mosque was timbuktu's nerve center of intellectual life. >> so this place was used for the classics. in the summertime they give lecture here. you have a circle here. at least 40 or 45 or 50 students >> reporter: well before europe's renaissance, students and scholars, as much as 25,000, came from west and north africa and the middle east to study islamic law, theology and a range of secular subjects. today the legacy of that scholarship lies in a vast scattered collection of historical manuscripts. >> yeah, this is the library reporter: the ahmed baba
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collection named after a 15th century scholar has some 40,000 manuscripts. arabic was used for theo logical as well as secular works, testament to the islamic world's leadership during the period in medicine and the sciences. every now and then, there's a manuscript in hebrew. this one is a 16th century letter by a jewish trader writing home to morocco about market prices in timbuktu. >> the other is bilingual reporter: despite a wealth of content the priority now for scholars and manuscript owners is the uphill task of saving the crumbling manuscripts >> we have some manuscripts touched by water, by fire >> reporter: their survival is a tribute to the ancient binders. this koran survived a building collapse, the classic gee mat
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ric art work on its goat skin cover are still pristine on the back. >> 17th century. but this is the oldest one. 1114. the oldest one. reporter: a handful of collections like these have gotten support from universities and foundations in the west to catalogue, preserve and restore manusipts. >> brown: for more, we are joined by mary jane deeb, chief of the african and middle eastern division at the library of congress. deeb was involved in the digital curation of timbuktu manuscripts with the help of one of the ancient city's librarians. the views she expresses here are own. first we want to be careful about how much we know or don't know, right? at this point, we're seeing some reports of some of these manuscripts have in fact been saved >> absolutely. this is the case in many wars. in iraq it was the same thing so
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at first they say everything has been destroyed. when we get closer we seehat the librarians themselves saved the manuscripts. the owners and directors of those libraries, the people who work there are aware of the danger and they start pulling them out and hiding them >> brown: give us a sense of the owners of the libraries. there are small private libraries. there's one larger research. tell us a little bit about the place and the libraries >> reporter: traditionally both in africa and the middle east, the owners of those libraries were families who passed those manuscripts from generation to generation. and the eldest son became the librarian, if you want. responsible for the preservation of those man uwe scrips. the case in timbuktu is the same. there are about 32 private libraries. families owning the man scripts and keeping them. and the man whom you've just
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seen has worked to preserve his own manuscripts and also those of some of his friends and relatives. and he has worked with the library of congress. we ve over a period of time started to digitizable some of those manuscripts >> brown: and the manuscripts themselves, planning many centuries, right -- 13th to the 19th -- all kinds of subjects? who wrote them? tell us a little bit about the work. >> it's wonderful. there are skoal ors. ... they're scholars, travelers, historians, all kinds of people who worked in timbuktu wrote those manuscripts. for example, there are manuscripts on botany and on the medicinal properties of plants which really are relevant even to this day. there are manuscripts on putting people on trial and the need for proof that the person has been a criminal. there are manuscripts on
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astronomy, not just the movement of stars but how the movement of stars relates to the culture, how it relates to the seasons. there are manuscripts on social conditions. for example, on the issue of inheritance. who inherits how. there are traditional laws. there are islamic laws. so there are also manuscripts on politics. you know, manuscripts telling governors and leaders, well, this is as far as your authority goes. in islamic law those are your limits. fascinating. >> brown: this all of course goes to the cultural heritage of the place that fred de sam lazaro was showing us. this was a very vibrant place of culture, of law, of study >> absolutely. you know, it began as a commercial center. it was at the cross roads of north africa and sub saharan africa. it was also on the route of
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pilgrims going from north africa to saudi arabia to mecca and medina. it became very wealthy. when people are wealthy, what do they do? they start building mosques to celebrate and to thank god for their wealth. those big mosques became centers of learning. and then learned men came on their way to... from pilgrimag pilgrimages. scholars from ciro, from fez in morocco, from tunisia came in. their own scholars began major debates on issues of religion, of law, and shared scientific knowledge. >> brown: that's the melting pot, right, because of all those different cultures because it was such a commercial center >> absolutely. it was a wealthy center. it was a commercial center and it was open. open to people coming from different parts of africa, of the middle east, and even from turkey and from erope. so it was an enormously
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cosmopolitan if you want as well as learning centers >> brown: it's no longer that and yet it preserves much of that past. i mean, how much is... how much of that life still goes on now? >> well, it's limited. obviously. it is still at the cross roads. it is still important at times but it is those manuscripts that are the heart of timbuktu. it is there that preserves the history of the peoe who live there. of course, the monuments themselves. timbuktu is a world heritage site. so it remains like some of the ancient cities, a place of wonder and of beauty >> brown: and again with caution because we don't exactly know about the rules here, but to the extent that things, if things are lost, what is lost? >> well, it's an enormous amount
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of knowledge that we will not be able to replace because it is knowledge created by the people f the region. it is their knowledge of their tradition, their culture. it is knowledge of plants, of deserts, of science, of philosophy, of law. that really is a universal thing. to lose that is really very sad. >> brown: all right. mary jane deeb. thank you so much >> thank you. >> brown: you can watch all of fred's story on the ahmed baba collection on our web site. >> ifill: finally tonight, the story of the first u.s. veteran to receive a double arm transplant. doctors at johns hopkins hospital in baltimore, where the surgery was performed last month, released details of the operation today, and the reaction from the patient himself. ifill: for 26-year-old
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brendan marrocco, a retired army sergeant it was a moment four years in the making >> it feels amazing. it's something that i was waiting for, for a long time. now that it finally happened, i really don't know what to say because it's just such a big thing for my life. it's just fantastic. >> ifill: in 2009 then private marrocco lost both arms and both legs in a roadside bombing outside baghdad. and then just over a month ago he received a rare double arm transplant. today he was discharged from johns hopkins hospital in baltimore. . w.p. andrew lee led the team that perford the 13-hour operation. >> only six other patients have undergone successful double hand transplants in the u.s., and brendan's surgery was the most extensive and complicated arm
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transplant performed. >> ifill: sergeant marrocco said he is already seeing signs of progress >> i don't really have feeling or movement in the hands yet but we'll get there. i can move my elbow. as if it was my elbow, the one i had before. i can rotate a little bit. this arm is pretty much not much movement at all. >> ifill: his doctors cautioned it will be slow going. maybe a year or longer before marrocco can fully use and feel his new arm. in the meantime, the patient played down any talk of going for a double leg transplant >> arms is certainly enough for me. i hated not having arms. i was all right with not having legs. not having arms takes so much away from you out of een your personality. you know, you talk with your hands. you do everything with your hands basically. when you don't have that, you're
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kind of lost for a while. >> ifill: marrocco said ultimately he hopes to swim and compete in a marathon using a hand cycle. more now about the surgery, the road aside for sergeant marrocco and the bigger picture for future treatment. that comes from a key member of the hopkins team, dr. jamie shores, the clinical director of hand transplantation at the hospital. dr. shores, thank for joining us. we know that this operation was rare. we hear he's one of only seven people in the u.s. who have had a double hand transplant. you who risky was it? >> well, we feel that we've been able to minimize the risks because we do so many rehearsals and we did such an extensive prework-up on it to make sure we mitigate any negative aspects to the operation to lower them and make it as safe as possible. but there is always risk with any sort of operation like this. if you look at the number of hand transplants that have been performed in the u.s. though,
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the rate of not having the hand survive the operation within just the first few days is extremely low. i think there probably have only been two cases where hand transplants have been lost out of probably 22 attempts in the united states that we know of >> ifill: you did you did rehearsal. tell us about that. how many were there and how does that work? >> well, we did several. what we do is we... based on the preoperative work-up we do for brendan, we go to anatomy lab and we have cadavers that we use totry to study what we think is the best way to transfer nerves, muscles, to provide bony fixation to dissect out the blood vessels and transfer those as well. we also rehearse the best way to try to procure the arms from the donor and preserve them. so we had a large group of surgeons that we rehearsed four or more times with. >> ifill: when you say large group, you're talking about how
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many people? >> ultimately there were about 16 of us involved in the operation. but during the rehearsals we ha even more probly lke closer to 20. and we would take every single rehearsal and we would modify and refine our operative technique so that he we had things down. everybody that participated in the operation is assigned a specific job. athey know what their role on te team is and they know where to go and what to do. >> ifill: i'm sorry to interrupt. you're talking nerves and bone and tendons animussal and skin and another donor arm. limb. this sounds extremely colicated >> well, is... it is a bit complicated. but that's why we do so much in-depth planning and so much rehearsing. we want to take all the guesswork out of it to make it as safe as possible >> ifill: he said today he couldn't feel anything yet. it's been about a month since the surgery. how long does it take for things to begin to regenerate for feeling to be restored, for mobility to be restored?
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>> the mobility will probably start earlier for him because the muscles that move his elbows are his own muscles on both arms. the right arm we're not allowing him to move veryuch right now because we want where we put the muscles that flex the elbow and extend the elbow into the tendons that anchor into the bones of the arm that we have attached there to heal. but his left arm, the elbow flexors and straighteners are all his own. so they work well. >> ifill: he had a prosthesis on that arm before, right? >> he had a myo-electric prosthesis, that's correct. the problem is the nerves. the nerves are the limiting factor for every kind of transplant. nerves takabout aonth to start generating. then they grow at a rate of about an inch a month and help the young people... in healthy young people. if you count the number of inches from where we transplanted his arm all the way out to his finger tips we're talking about a few years of
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nerve regeneration that we're going to have to wait for until he has good sensation there. if you look at the progress that hand transplants throughout the world have made, what we see is that every single year even after they've had their transplants for five years or more, they seem to still recover more and morrison sayings. >> iill: e of the doctors today ws saying at least one other transplant recipient was using chop sticks at this stage >> that's correct. the only other above elbow transplant that's been performed in the u.s. which we performed about almost three years ago is still acquiring more and more function. he has not yet plateaued. we expect that brendan will do the same for years he'll keep getting better and better >> ifill: let me ask you a very basic question. we have done a lot of coverage here and everyone has been following very closely the incredible leaps and bounds that have beenmade ung proceed thesis. the mobility which has been restored especially to victims of i.e.d.s and other traumatic
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injuries in wars. why not continue to build on that technology? what is the advantage of transplantation? >> we actually still are building on that technology. we here johns hopkins even participate in a program that capitalizes on that led by a surgeon called targeted muscle... for certain people that technology and using really advance robotics is a better option than other patients. so we try to decide that on a case-by-case basis. the higher the amputation, the poorer the nerve regeneration is going to be. we have a feeling that those patients at least right now are probably better candidates for more advanced robotic arms but for people like brendan who have lower amputations, if you sit and talk with them, they'll tell you how much they dislike their prosthetics because they're uncomfortable, they're heavy. they swept like crazy inside of them. they have to have somebody help them take them on orut them
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on, take them off. so... and they don't have any sensation. when you put all those things together if you look at how much most prosthetic users actually wear and use their prosthesis. the best best roared use rates are usually about 50% of the time. having a hand that doesn't come off, that also has sensation, that's comfortable, you know, that weighs as much as a hand should seems to be what the body wants. >> ifill: dr. jamie shores of the johns hopkins university hospital, thank you so much >> thank you. >> woodruff: again, the other major developments of the day. president obama pushed for an overhaul of immigration laws. a federal judge in new orleans approved a settlement for b.p. in the 2010 gulf oil disaster. the company agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and pay more than $4
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billion in criminal penalties. and the u.s. senate easily confirmed one of its own, john kerr to be secretary of ste. online we explore whether you have any legal recourse when an employer rescinds a job offer. hari sreenivasan explains. >> sreenivasan: on our "ask the headhunter," nick corcodilos follows up on last week's column. he gets a legal perspective on what to do to if your job offer is cancelled and you've already quit your old position. and he adds, always try to get a contract in writing. all that and more is on our web site, judy? >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll cover senate hearings on gun violence, featuring testimony from the husband of the former congresswoman who survived a shooting, and the c.e.o. of the national rifle association. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> bnsf railway. >> viking river cruises. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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PBS News Hour
PBS January 29, 2013 5:30pm-6:30pm PST

News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown. (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Timbuktu 15, U.s. 10, Us 9, Hagel 7, Pentagon 6, Chuck Hagel 4, Brendan 4, Jim 4, Brown 4, Syria 4, Mali 4, Obama 3, Afghanistan 3, Gordon Adams 3, Thomas Donnelly 3, Macneil Lehrer 2, Marco Rubio 2, Sheldon Addalson 2, Pbs Newshour 2, Gao 2
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